rolls on a plate

Milk Bread-A New Favorite

Lately, I have been reading and hearing so much about milk bread. It’s starting to show up everywhere on the internet, social media, and baking magazines.

rolls on a plate

This bread hails from Japan and its super easy to make. I love how it has a hint of sweetness and the tops brown up so nicely.

Over the last few months, I have been on a bread baking kick. I just love the taste of homemade bread and love the art of making it.

So with that, I had to dive into this recent bread craze!

Unchartered Territory of Milk Bread

Instead of making a single loaf, I decided to make individual rolls to have on hand and to be able to share with others. I cook dinner for families encountering health situations and this bread will be a great addition to their meals.

Come with me on my journey into making this amazing bread. I’ll share a few tips of getting the prefect rise too.

Similarly, this bread reminds me so much of a brioche. The texture resembles this delicious, rich, and buttery bread. As with brioche, this bread also has softened butter added when mixing.

Bread flour rules the show on this one, its perfect for this recipe and provides the ideal structure. King Arthur is my favorite!

Say What….

However, the one unique characteristic of this delicious bread, is it requires a “starter” referred to as Tangzhong. It’s a simple mixture of milk and flour cooked till slightly thickened and then cooled. Reminds me of a very thick roux when making sauces. Interesting, this later gets added to the dough.

One thing I love about this dough is that is rises so nicely and so light and fluffy. Its absolutely incredible and I think will now become my go-to bread and roll recipe.

Also, this would be a perfect roll for the Thanksgiving table or even accompanied with a hot bowl of soup or stew. Perfect for sopping up the extra liquid or sauce. Woo-HOO!

Let’s Do This

Making the Tanzhong

I start with making the Tanzhong in a small saucepan on the stove. Typically, this gets cooked to about a temperature of 149 degrees. Carefully, I try not to over cook it where it becomes too thick.

This also reminds me of making choux paste and has a very similar look.

The Tanzhong gets put into a bowl to cool and I get the dry ingredients ready for the bread.

Instead of proofing the yeast with water, which is the usual method in making most breads, the yeast gets coupled with warm milk and sugar. Sugar feeds the yeast and enables a faster rise.


I always use 105 degrees as my temperature for water or milk to add the yeast to. It seems to be the perfect temperature for the yeast to bloom.

Milk Bread Dough

Once the yeast has bloomed, it gets added to the flour, eggs, salt, and the Tangzhong. The dough it coming along.

Once the mixture just gets incorporated, I add the softened butter and it’s time let the mixer do the its work! I like to use my mixer with the dough hook do do all the kneading for me.

milk bread dough
Ready for one last knead for a smooth dough

Depending on the day you make this, you might have to tweak this milk bread dough with a little more flour or water to get the perfect dough.

Sauna Time

Now it’s time rise! I put the dough into a greased bow ( I use a little cooking spray) and cover it for the magic to happen.

Rising TIP: Little Help From Your Oven

One of my best tips that has worked for me many years with baking bread is this:

  • Turn you oven to 200 degrees
  • Allow to preheat a couple of minutes, maybe 2-3
  • Turn the oven off (you don’t want it to actually get to 200 degrees) just warm
  • Place your dough into the oven and close the door
  • Allow about an hour in the oven and the dough should be ready

The oven really helps the fermentation process, especially if your kitchen is cool or its winter time. The oven makes a perfect proofing box.


Rise and shine, the dough is ready to form into rolls. This is a super easy dough to work with and it rises just beautifully.

Since making rolls I divide the dough in half, then cut each half into 6 pieces for a total of 12 pieces for each half.

The dough gets rolled into a ball, then rolled out and wrapped like a mini jelly roll or crescent roll.

portioning dough
risen rolls ready for the oven
Let it roll, rolled up much like a jelly roll

Second Time Around

Second rise takes place with the rolls on a sheet pan and then ready for the oven. Oh, almost forgot they get a light brushing of milk and egg (egg wash) for a nice glaze for color. Using milk instead of water gives it a richness and color due to the sugars in the milk.

At this point, I’m super excited to see how they turn out. I cant wait to sink my teeth into a piece of warm bread, YUM! Keeping my fingers crossed here…..

To my delight, they come out looking pretty awesome! I love the nice color on top and boy once you break into one of these, they are so light and fluffy. Quite amazing! Wow.

Addictive, absolutely. I found myself having one with dinner, then again for breakfast. They are just incredible! Perfect for anytime of the day!

milk bread on a bread plate

I’m definitely going to have to create different ways to use this base milk bread recipe. Extremely user friendly and absolutely delicious!!! My first thoughts are breakfast pastries and maybe pizza’s!

Check out some of my other bread recipes:

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